48 hours in New York: Trip Planning
ANA B777-300ER “THE Room” Business Class NRT-JFK
British Airways First Lounge New York JFK
ANA B777-300ER “THE Suite” First Class JFK-HND
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Haneda
Singapore Airlines B777-300ER First Class HND-SIN
I had roughly 2 hours in Haneda before connecting to SQ 635 back to Singapore. That leg would also be in First Class, which meant I had access to the ANA Suite Lounge.
After ANA’s outstanding First Class experience, it was time to see if the airline could replicate the same levels of excellence on the ground.
|The ANA Suite Lounge is a disappointing contrast to ANA’s excellent inflight experience. It doesn’t feel exclusive or private, and ultimately is more of a Business+ lounge than a true First Class facility.|
|The good||The bad|
ANA has two Suite Lounges in Haneda airport, one near Gate 110, and the other near Gate 114. Only the lounge near Gate 110 has an a la carte dining facility (see below), so be sure to visit that one if time permits.
When you’re near Gate 110 you’ll see some well-illuminated signs guiding you to the escalator for the 4th floor.
Ride the escalator up…
…and at the top you’ll see both the ANA Suite Lounge and the ANA Lounge.
Access and Opening Hours
The ANA Suite Lounge near Gate 110 is open from 5 a.m until the departure of the final ANA-operated flight of the day.
Access to this lounge is available to First Class customers departing on ANA or any Star Alliance carrier, plus one guest. ANA Diamond Service members also get the same access rights.
Remember that Star Alliance access rules work differently from oneworld, so if you’re arriving in Tokyo in First Class but departing in Business Class, you won’t be able to access the Suite Lounge.
As an interesting sidepoint, ANA allows frequent flyer members to redeem miles for additional lounge guests. The rate is 5,000 miles per guest, which sounded on the high side to me. In any case, as I was soon to learn, the lounge experience was hardly the sort that warranted sharing.
From September to December 2019, the ANA Suite Lounge underwent renovation to “meet universal design standards”. I have no idea what “universal design standards” are, but all the standards in the world count for nothing if people can’t even find a place to sit.
Let’s get one thing clear: ANA Suite Lounge gets incredibly crowded in the evenings (it may not appear so from my photos, but that’s because I waited for people to clear out before snapping). Remember, in addition to First Class passengers, this lounge plays host to Diamond Service members and their +1s. The crowding situation is only going to get worse in the future, what with ANA shifting most of its US routes from Narita to Haneda.
The crowded environment detracts from the First Class ground experience, because it hardly feels exclusive or private. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Business Class lounge, and truth be told the ANA Suite Lounge veers more functional than luxurious.
The lounge can be divided into two main sections. The first section features a long hallway with plenty of individual armchairs on both sides.
Once you sit down, the staff will bring you a hot towel and ask what you’d like to drink. It’s a nice gesture that’s meant to add a bit of a personal touch, but once served you become just another face in an oversized First Class facility.
Further down you’ll find the buffet area, which offers communal seating.
Although there’s plenty of food here, this isn’t the lounge’s main dining attraction- that’s in the other section. Here’s where people who don’t have time for a sit-down meal can grab a quick bite, or order a “fast food” option from the dining counter.
A wide selection of alcohol and soft drinks were available, as were the famous self-pouring Japanese beer taps. Coffee was available from a Lavazza machine.
The champagne in the Suite Lounge is a De Venoge Brut. I can’t say I’ve heard of the house before, but it retails at about US$53 online and gets 91 points on Robert Parker (meaning an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character).
In terms of light bites, there were some maki rolls (ANA has a sushi bar for First Class customers…in Narita), onigiri, and inari sushi. There was also a salad bar and assorted desserts.
A couple of unappetizing hot items were in the food warmers.
If you want something that isn’t quite pre-made but doesn’t require restaurant-style waiting, you can order something from the dining counter instead. You’ll receive a buzzer and wait about five minutes for your food.
I ordered a couple of items to try. The pork ramen won’t be competing with Ichiran any time soon, but it’s comfort food for the salaryman, I suppose.
The crab meat and tomato cream pasta had almost no crab meat in it, but at least the pasta wasn’t cooked to death.
The sashimi rice bowl was just awful. Two small prawns, some salmon roe, a few pieces of tamago, rubbery octopus and tuna- given where I was, this was underwhelming on so many levels.
The second section of the lounge opens out into a nest of individual cubicles for working and relaxing.
This was by far the most popular area of the lounge, so much so that they had a waiting list to sit there. You couldn’t just go and plonk yourself down, you had to leave your name with an attendant and come back later.
I managed to snap these shots towards the end of my stay, when people were emptying out for flights.
If you manage to snag one of the seats by the window, you can plane watch. Haneda is always a busy airport at night, and it’s somewhat calming to sip a glass of wine and watch the action from the other side of the tarmac.
This section also hosts the lounge’s restaurant, which we’ll look at next.
ANA’s a la carte dining facility is called DINING h (the Japanese seem to love random capitalization, see THE Room, THE Suite BEDD), and opens daily from 7.30 p.m till 12.30 a.m (last order at 12.00 a.m). Once again, take note that DINING h is only available at the lounge near Gate 110; the lounge near Gate 114 has no such equivalent.
Seating is limited, and depending on what time you arrive, you may be given a buzzer and asked to come back later. Unfortunately, the staff will not serve the DINING h food to you elsewhere in the lounge.
My advice is to make a beeline here the minute you arrive and put your name down, because this is the one highlight of an otherwise average lounge.
DINING h is a hybrid buffet/table service experience. Appetizers and desserts can be found at the buffet line, while the main course is ordered off an a la carte menu.
The buffet was honestly nothing to shout about. It was kind of a jumbled mish mash of things- a salad bar, a cheese board, some cut fruits and assorted pastries. The selection was similar to what you could find elsewhere in the lounge.
But you’re not here for the buffet. You’re here for the amazing dine-on-demand menu, which rotates monthly and features morsels such as:
There was a separate drinks menu too, featuring the following:
I really wanted to try the sea bream, which was the special for the month. But perplexity, there’s only 10 portions available daily. When hundreds of people must dine at DINING h each night, that must make for a lot of disappointed customers…so why put yourself in that position? If quantity were really that limited, would it make sense to offer more portions per day but for a shorter period?
Anyhoo, I went with the wagyu beef round steak, done medium-rare.
It was phenomenal. I’ll tell you right now this ranks right up there with the Qantas First Lounge in Singapore for “life-changing lounge food”.
For my second dish, I went with the chicken cacciatore style. Cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style”, with onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers and sometimes wine. This was alright, good for lounge food but not on the same level as the beef.
Meals were served in less than 10 minutes, and most people dined quickly before leaving. This helped alleviate congestion, but I still had a 20 minute wait when I arrived in the lounge.
DINING h is really the only thing worth looking forward to in the lounge, so be sure to dine here if you visit.
There are a total of four shower rooms in the ANA Suite Lounge, which is way too few for a lounge of this size. I had to wait about 30 minutes for a room to become available.
The shower rooms themselves are pleasant, if unspectacular. They’re spotlessly clean (as you would expect from a Japanese lounge), and equipped with bidet seats, Dyson hairdryers, and showers with strong water pressure.
The shower amenities were by THANN, a Thai luxury spa brand that you can also find in the Qatar Airways lounge in Doha.
The Dyson hairdryer was attached to the wall with a little metal loop- I wonder if they’ve had issues with people taking one home as a souvenir.
If you asked me to sum up the ANA Suite Lounge in one sentence, I’d say “more of a Business+ lounge than a true First Class facility.” Take away the dine-on-demand feature (and indeed, it’s not available for most of the day), and the lounge becomes no different from your average Business Class facility.
In its current form, the ANA Suite Lounge is never going to rank up there with the top First Class lounges in the world. It’s functional more than luxurious, and is a jarring contrast from the experience ANA delivers in the air.
Not the worst place to pass your time, but not redefining luxury either.